Room rates at the Piatt County Nursing Home will increase 2 percent on Jan. 1. The county board nursing home committee approved the move at its meeting on Oct. 24.

Nursing Home Administrator Scott Porter said the increase is needed to keep up with costs, including increases in minimum wage requirements.

“We did go ahead and increase the minimum wage to what it will be (in 2025) – which will be $15 per hour – for our CNAs and nurses. We did that because we started to see a lot of attrition back to Champaign and Decatur and other homes in the area,” said Porter.

The increase would add about $65,000 annually to the facility’s income. The $232 per day for a private room and $200 for semi private rooms places the nursing home rates above the rates homes located in Bement and Farmer City, but below those in Champaign.

While conscious that added cost can also drive people away, Porter also felt there were facility enhancements coming that could help make up for it.

“I do believe in the coming year, we have a lot of new and exciting things and programs – like the Snoezelen room – to make us more attractive. We also hope to do more updates to the rooms,” he said, noting that promoting the nursing home will be more of a priority for him now that the facility is on more sound financial footing.

It was also pointed out that most nursing homes increase rates about 1 percent each year, but that Piatt County has been more sporadic in raising room costs. The last increase locally went into effect in September of 2018.

County Board Chairman Ray Spencer pointed out that, while cost is important, those shopping around for long-term care facilities look at other things as well.

“If I was a family making a decision on this, and of course you have to think about cost, but it isn’t going to be the driving force in the decision,” said Spencer. “They’ll look at other things, like amenities, location...”

“We do have a lot of interest from outside the county,” added Porter.

“I would be O.K. with a 2 percent increase, with the added costs due to the minimum wage law changes. And I think the last audit showed were we’re breaking even from an income standpoint,” said committee member Dale Lattz. “We’re not here to make profits, but we’re not here to lose money either.”

During public comment, Tom Corbin, whose wife is a nursing home resident, supported the increase.

“It’s going to cost me, but I’m for it,” he said, adding his opinion the facility was “a great resource for the county.”

Porter said he hopes to propose smaller increases in the range of 1 percent each year instead of larger ones on longer time frames.

Details

With a two percent increase, nursing costs as of Jan. 1 will be:

–Private room: $232 per day, $6,960 per month, increases of $5/$150

–Semi-private room: $200 per day, $6,000 per month, increases of $4/$120

–Semi-private room converted to private room: $299 per day, $8,970 per month, increases of $6/$180

–Alzheimers unit/semi-private room: $210 per day, $6,300 per month, increases of $4/$120

–Alzheimer’s unit/three bedroom room: $200 per day, $6,000 per month, increases of $4/$120

–Ancillary charges, including charges for personal laundry, oxygen, telephone service and medical supplies will remain the same.